Tags: Tunisia | jihadist | Chokri Belaid

Suspect in Slaying of Tunisian Govt Foe Dies in Shootout With Police

Image: Suspect in Slaying of Tunisian Govt Foe Dies in Shootout With Police
Tunisian counter-terrorism police are seen at the area where security forces exchanged gunfire with alleged militants in Raoued, a northern suburb of Tunis, on Feb. 4.

By    |   Tuesday, 04 Feb 2014 11:06 PM

A jihadist suspected of assassinating Tunisian opposition figure Chokri Belaid last year was one of 23 radicals killed in a clash with police near Tunis,  Albawaba news agency reported Tuesday.

Citing an account published by the Tunisian state news agency TAP, Albawaba  reported that  the body of the suspect, Kamel Gadhgadhi, was identified after a heavy firefight between militants and police that began Monday afternoon and ended Tuesday morning.

Since the revolution that toppled  longtime Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, Tunisia has been rocked by violence linked to militant Islamists who had been brutally suppressed by the former regime.

On Thursday, Tunisians will mark the first anniversary of the murder of Belaid, an attorney and human-rights activist who criticized the ruling Ennadha Party and jihadist militants.

Authorities believe that on Feb. 6, 2013, Gadhgadhi, allegedly a member of the radical Ansar al-Sharia organization, shot Belaid to death as the victim  left his Tunis home.  The Tunisian government has said  Gadhgadhi’s fingerprints had been found in a vehicle used to smuggle illegal weapons across Tunisia, and that he was involved in supporting a terrorist cell in Jebel Chaambi, a mountainous area near the Algerian border.

“These suspects provided support to the terrorist cell holed up in the region of Jebel Chaambi,” a government spokesman said. About 20 members of the Tunisian security services were killed last year during operations targeting an Islamist militant cell in the area.

Authorities have not said  whether they believe Gadhgadhi was involved in another assassination of a prominent Tunisian opposition figure last year: Tunisian  opposition leader Mohamed Brahmi, who was shot to death outside his Tunis home in July. Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou has said Brahmi was killed with the same gun used to kill Belaid more than five months earlier, the BBC reported.

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A jihadist suspected of assassinating Tunisian opposition figure Chokri Belaid last year was one of 23 radicals killed in a clash with police near Tunis, Albawaba news agency reported Tuesday.
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2014-06-04
Tuesday, 04 Feb 2014 11:06 PM
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